On Sunday a friend said to me regarding herself, “I used to be skinny. But it took too much effort. So I just let go and became this normal weight.” She is gorgeous, by the way. I’ll be saying some things in this post about average weight and why her comment is so significant. But can you relate to this? Is there a middle ground between (goddess forbid) obsessing over trying to be thin… and the other extreme, which is saying screw it, and eating so much you become fat and unhappy? Yes. I believe there is such a middle ground.
I am sooooooo excited about this post. My friend’s comment really got me thinking. Also, since I am reading a precious gem of a book titled Create The Body that Your Soul Desires (available at Amazon), I have it on top of mind to be connected to and aware of how I am caring for my body on a minute by minute basis.
In this post, I want to address not only your size and shape. But also, how you feel and think about your size and shape. I speak with my clients all the time about strategies for them to become the size and shape that they long to be. Let’s face it. People are majorly preoccupied with this. Let’s address it in a way that nourishes your soul, to quote Drs. Karen and Deb from the book.
Some key points:
- I think in our culture average weight is underrated. I remember seeing my size described on one of those charts as being average and feeling disappointed. Looking back, that is rather silly. I felt that average wasn’t special enough. Like my weight was not extraordinary. It was uneventful. Who wants to be average? I see now what a waste of energy that was. Admittedly, I am unaware of anywhere in our size-and-shape-obsessed society that average is endorsed. “Come work with me, and for $500, I’ll show you how to have an average-sized body!” somehow would not pass Marketing 101. In this article, I’d like to say, power to the ordinary when it comes to our bodies’ weight and shape.
- Beauty comes in a variety of shapes and packages. One of my clients was about 5 feet 8 inches. She didn’t have a petite bone in her body. She had made herself miserable trying to be slender and dainty. She said later that learning how to appreciate her body through health coaching was better than the goal she had, which was to become skinny. I urge you to Google large, beautiful bodies. I don’t have the right to display those images here, but a picture says a thousand words.
- Health is most important. There are plenty of ways to assess if you are or are not on the right track with your size and shape, and I urge you to consider health as the primary one. If your doctor tells you that you have excellent blood panels; if you have plenty of energy; if you sleep well; if your digestion works well; if you are free from overwhelming cravings; if your measurements are reasonable (waistline, hip-to-waist, BMI); if there are no indications of hypertension or elevated blood glucose; if you don’t have an excess of fat around your belly, hips, and thighs; if you feel good when you exercise; if you enjoy radiantly pro-health foods most of the time; if you are not hooked on caffeine, alcohol, or sugar; …then you are on the right track. Remember to give thanks for your health, especially if you have been critical of your figure in the past.
- Avoid the extremes. One can be too thin and one can be too fat for one’s good. In addition to the medical concerns, here are some ideas to move toward the middle of the scale. If being thin means that you are preoccupied with dieting and not eating, be mindful of what you are doing to your body. If you try to eat tiny amounts of food because of this preoccupation with food, you might want to work with a coach to get squared away. If on the other hand, you think that you weigh too much, and you are uncomfortable in your clothes, and you feel awful after you eat, it might be good for you to also move more toward the middle. If you tend to obsess over your size, find ways to relax and appreciate your body the way it is. This does not preclude your doing things to improve your shape. But you will feel better about yourself along the way.
- There is no one right way to be. A good friend told me today that she is having a ball working with a trainer to build her muscles. Yea for her. And my neighbor loves to walk three miles per day and couldn’t care less about his muscles. He is in his early 70’s and feels fantastic. Yea for him. It is unreasonable to make your body into something that it was never designed to be. I love to work out and I love to exercise just about every day. But I have no interest in becoming a muscular body-builder. Finding the true you and working with what you have is a path towards sanity and radiant good health. Fitness goals vary from person to person. Make sure yours are reasonable for your body type.
Feeling good about how you look and feel is not a one-size fit all. It is personal to you. If you find a place where you are happy, at peace around food, confident in your nutrition choices, comfortable in your clothes, and can enjoy some extra treats like a glass of wine or some dark chocolate without guilt or shame or going overboard, then perhaps you will join me in celebrating the average.
Maybe average is the new fabulous.
Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Author, Health Matters
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